Was last Thurday’s raid on Gibson Guitars politically motivated?
An article at Landmark Report suggests exactly that.
Last Thursday, federal agents raided the Gibson Guitar facilities in Memphis and Nashville, looking for wood obtained in India.
A company press release noted:
The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.
Andrew Lawton of Landmark Report wondered why Gibson was targeted by federal agents while C. F. Martin & Company – one of Gibson’s leading competitors – was not.
Lawton notes that according to Martin’s catalog, “several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars.”
As it turns out, Henry E. Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitars, has supported Republicans and donated to GOP candidates and PACs. Lawton reports:
According to the Open Secrets database, Juszkiewicz donated $2000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN07) last year, as well as $1500 each to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Juszkiewicz also has donated $10,000 to the Consumer Electronics Association, a PAC that contributed $92.5k to Republican candidates last year, as opposed to $72k to Democrats. (The CEA did, however, contribute more to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle.)
In stark contrast, Chris Martin IV – CEO of C. F. Martin, “is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles.”
The Gibson facility wasn’t raided over allegations of tax evasion, charges of embezzlement, or even something as drab as child labor. Not even close. It was raided over what the DOJ deems an inability to follow a vague domestic trade law in India (one that apparently the Indian government didn’t seem too concerned about enforcing) regarding a specific type of wood. Not illegal wood, just wood with obscenely specific procedural guidelines.
Stand with Gibson: They have the Law on their side, just not the government.
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